By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
In Domenico’s effervescent “Possibilidade,” bubbly with flutes, trombones, acoustic guitars and rolling, marching polyrhythms, the impossibly pleasant chord progressions suggest a sunny afternoon daydream that recalls British orch-pop aesthetes the High Llamas. Want some contrast? “Você e eu” is, well, a death-metal mash-up dotted with random electronics and a lot of noise. Hard to believe such claustrophobic mayhem comes from the same head as something as soothingly dulcet as “Tarde de Chegada” or the grainy analog mystery called “Arrivederci,” which one might mistake for the theme to a 1970s Jess Franco film.
The glory of Brazilian music’s historically unbiased mashing up of disparate musical strains and grand song structures can be heard in the music of composer-performers such as Tom Jobim, Lo Borges and Milton Nascimento, all of whom were probably absorbed by Kassin. His just-out Futurismo, like Music Typewriter and Sincerely Hot, visits a new place in contemporary Brazilian expression, where beauty and lyricism are never lost — even as Kassin probes his fascination with unexplored electronic and rock-aligned territory.
He is the imaginative producer of a number of popular Brazilian artists, including Bebel Gilberto and Marisa Monte, and on Futurismo, he collaborates on several tunes with John McEntire of Chicago instrumentalists Tortoise and Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas — which makes wonderful sense. O’Hagan has arranged tracks for many artists, all of whom mine an area of ... call it contemporary daydream rock. Its common goal is to concoct the perfect pop admixture of sweetness and modernity.
In Kassin’s “Tranqüilo,” the tremolo guitar, swishing/clopping polybeats and aquatic feel of vibraphones amble about with no particular place to go; it seems to have no goals, no worries. In “O Seu Lugar,” classic bossa chord progressions rise and fall simultaneously; an easygoing beat, relaxed vocals, mellow electric piano and bird tweets ... these effects are subtle, panning left and right and twining ’round Monsanto electronic sounds. You’re in the ’60s, the ’70s or thereabouts, and it feels good.